If you’re good with your hands and enjoy do-it-yourself projects, starting a handyman business can be a logical step, but you may wonder how to start your handyman business, and what the risks and benefits are of doing so. Working as a handyman means that you can work for yourself, setting your own hours and choosing the pace of your work.
Handymen are in high demand in urban areas where most people work in professional careers and don’t know how to fix items around the house. If you live in a big city, you’ll have a large market of homeowners and renters who need to keep their homes maintained. Hopefully, you also enjoy the sense of achievement of having fixed something that wasn’t working, along with an average annual salary that's growing.
How to Start Your Handyman Business
If you’re good at fixing things you’ve probably already had neighbors and friends asking you to come over to fix a leaky faucet or hang some pictures. This can be a great way to start a handyman business, but you need to take a few official steps as well.
Some states or cities require all businesses to get an official small business license, even if you’re just working for yourself, so check these regulations with your local Chamber of Commerce.
In some states you’ll need a contractor’s license. In California, for example, you can do any type of repairs without a license as long as the total cost of the project is under $500. In Florida, what matters is what type of work you’re doing - you’re only allowed to do non-structural repairs without a license, while in Wisconsin you need to be registered or licensed to do any type of home repairs. Check your local state and municipality handyman license requirements.
Although there are no formal education requirements for starting a handyman business, you might want to take a handyman course to brush up on your skills and check that you are familiar with the most common tasks.
Don’t Forget Handyman insurance!
Whatever you do, it’s very important to get professional handyman insurance. General liability insurance is vital to protect you if you accidentally hit a nail through a major water pipe or get sued by an unhappy customer, for example. Working as a handyman can be dangerous, since you’ll be using sharp tools and having to lift heavy items. Handyman business insurance also covers you in case someone gets hurt while you're on the job.
Handyman Business Ideas
Here are a few more handyman business tips to help you succeed:
- When you start your business, choose a few areas to focus on. Some popular handyman tasks include maintaining and repairing air conditioning units, hanging pictures and doing small repairs to cabinets and furniture. Choose four or five to specialize in when you first get going.
- Don’t spend too much money on handyman tools when you’re just setting up. Hopefully you’ll already have basic, good-quality tools for general jobs. Wait to invest in expensive or specialist equipment once you’re sure that you really need it.
- Pick a catchy business name that is easy to remember and clearly relates to being a handyman.
- Write a handyman business plan which includes your expected costs, your projected income for the first few months, what type of repairs you’ll offer and every other business-related detail you can think of. If you’re not sure how to write a business plan you can find plenty of support and templates online.
- Plan a marketing campaign to let people know about your business. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy - some flyers in local stores or an advertisement in the local paper will help spread the word.
The Challenges of Starting a Handyman Business
Being a handyman can be great, but when figuring out how to start your handyman business, it's important not to overlook the challenges as well. It’s not easy to become a handyman. You have to know how to do so many different things, and there are also unique issues that can arise. Some of the challenges include:
- You’ll be called at all hours to fix things that stop working
- Because you’ll be working for yourself, you’ll have to keep your accounts in order and manage all the administrative side of owning a business as well as actually being a handyman
- You might be pressured to do work that you aren’t legally permitted to do
- Every state and sometimes every municipality has different handyman requirements, so you’ll need to research your exact area
Having said all of that, if you enjoy using your hands and you’re willing to work on all aspects of the business, being a handyman can be a very successful and enjoyable profession.
Starting a handyman business is exciting, but it’s also hard work. With a positive attitude and the right preparation, you can enjoy a fulfilling career doing what you love. Good luck!